Nature photographer Anatoly Strakhov first spotted the fur seal hiding under a pile of logs, far from the other seals that had congregated near the water.
“I was pleased to be able to capture such an unusual animal, but the poor seal is almost blind and so was unlikely to survive in the wild,” Strakhov, 61, told the UK’s Daily Mail.
Although the seal isn’t a true albino with white fur and skin, it does have albinistic features, said Dudley Wigdahl, curator for mammals and birds at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif.
“It’s a much lighter color than you would normally see in a fur seal,” said Wigdahl, who told ABCNews.com he has never seen one with this coloring before.
Wigdahl estimates the pup is between three and four months old.
Fur seals are typically a dark chocolate brown, and appear almost black when wet — a sharp contrast from this young seal’s pink flippers and light-colored eyes.
Albino features often create problems for animals in the wild where they are more easily spotted by predators. Sometimes these animals also suffer from poor eyesight.
“Blindness does go along with albinism at times,” said Wigdahl.
Although it seemed as though the odds were against this pup, there’s a happy ending after all: a dolphinarium Strakhov works with is now taking care of the seal.
“He may live a relatively healthy life,” Wigdahl said.